Posted Jan 11, 2017
November and December are considered low season in Zambia, so prices of lodges are cheaper but game viewing can still be exceptional. Here are some National Parks in Zambia we recommend you visit at this time of year.
Elephant in the Reception of Mfuwe Lodge
From the 15th of November every year a family of wild elephant, led by their matriarch, walk through the Reception of Mfuwe Lodge to eat the fruit from the Wild Mango Tree, which grows in the front of the lodge. Mfuwe lodge, situated within the South Luangwa National Park, has obviously been built on an old elephant trail.
This annual visit usually takes place for 3 weeks of the year, whilst the tree is in full fruit. However, the elephant have got so habituated, they sometimes pop in for a quick visit during the year. Already they have been reported to start visiting earlier this year. On their visits, they bring their young, and it is an incredible sight to watch a mother elephant assist her newly born calf up and down the stairs of the lodge. It has even happened, when a calf has decided it needs a siesta on the cool floor of the reception. It's mother just stood in the reception whilst the calf had a nap! The elephant are not the only visitors who decide that they should visit the lodge. It is not uncommon to see lion or leopard close to the lodge rooms, like these youngsters, who thought they should check out the garden shed at Mfuwe lodge and inspect whether the builders were laying the pathway correctly!
BAT MIGRATION IN THE KASANKA NATIONAL PARK
Kasanka National Park is located in Central Zambia, on the south western edge of the Lake Bangweulu basin, near Serenje, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kasanka is Zambia’s first National Park under private management and is entirely reliant on tourism revenue and charitable funding. It is a valuable conservation area with diverse flora and fauna, including many endangered species and exceptional birdlife. From around the end of October to mid December, the arrival of 10 million straw coloured fruit bats, into a tiny piece of swamp forest, is probably the highlight of the Kasanka calendar.
Beside being the world’s largest mammal migration, this annual Bat migration provides safari lovers and photographers the opportunity for some of the most dramatic footage, as millions upon millions of bats take to the skies in the early evening – often against a backdrop of vast and stormy skies or even better, a bright full moon! At the crack of dawn, they all return to the forest to roost, and it is at this time, when the chances of witnessing a natural predation act become a possibility, as crowned, martial and fish eagles take to the skies to hunt the returning bats in the cool of the morning. I was fortunate enough this year to witness this incredible experience during the Super Moon. It is an experience I will never forget and one I definitely recommend.
Kasanka National Park is a birders dream with over 500 species recorded in the Park including some specials such as Bohm’s Bee-eater, Pels Fishing Owl, African Pitta, Wattled crane and many more. The park is home to blue Monkey’s, Kinda Baboon (this is the only park in Zambia where this Baboon has been found). Sitatungu, puku, sable and elephant can all be seen in the Park.
LIUWA PLAINS NATIONAL PARK (WESTERN ZAMBIA)
The Liuwa Plain National Park lies in the Western Province of Zambia, west of the Barotse floodplain. The park is governed by Africa Parks, Zambia Wildlife Authority and the traditional government of the Lozi people. The traditional Monarch of the area is the Paramount Chief or King, called the Litunger, meaning “keeper or guardian of the earth”. This is a true wilderness, and Liuwa Plain is characterized by seasonally flooded grassy plains dotted with woodland islands and pans. Liuwa hosts the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa, offering spectacular sights of thousands of animals. Early November is a good time of year to witness the migration. Amongst other game found in the park are roan antelope, zebra, red lechwe, tsessebe, buffalo and eland. It also supports globally important bird populations with more than 330 bird species recorded. Storks, cranes and other water birds come in their hundreds, including the beautiful crowned crane and the majestic wattle crane. Predators include African wild dogs, cheetah, spotted hyena and lions, one of which is the famous lioness known as Lady Liuwa. These vast open plains, spectacular views, contrasting colours and the abundant wildlife and birdlife, makes for fantastic photographic opportunities. One can self camp at Liuwa but there are a few operators who offer Mobile tented safaris and the New Mambeti Lodge built by Norman Carr Safaris is due to open in 2017. Proflight will be operating flights 3 times a week to Liuwa which is fantastic news as it will make Liuwa National Park more accessible.
African Pitta seen in Lower Zambezi National Park
Been a keen birder, I have always wanted to see an African Pitta and the elusive bird has always eluded me. So you can’t imagine my excitement when I saw one in the Lower Zambezi National Park when staying at the Royal Zambezi Lodge a few weeks ago.
Most camps close in the lower Zambezi come mid November due to the rains but the Royal Zambezi Lodge is one of the few that stays open all year round. We happened to visit the lodge at the beginning of December and we had the most incredible game viewing. Whilst watching the African Pitta we had mating leopard not more than 20 meters from our vehicle. We saw lion stalking buffalo and a pack of wild dog right near the lodge. To top it all we had the Lower Zambezi National Park to ourselves and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Royal Zambezi Lodge and definitely one we recommend.
On that note on behalf of all of us at Zamag Tours and Safaris we would like to wish you Compliments of the Season and a very prosperous New Year!
Daphne and the Zamag Team
ZAMAG Tours & Safaris
Postnet 726. P. Bag E891. Lusakacell: 00 260 977 618 194.